Positives in the face of defeat for Ironsides skipper O'Keeffe

On the charge: Paddy Flynn tries to get past the Longlevens defence on a day of disappointment for Ironsides

On the charge: Paddy Flynn tries to get past the Longlevens defence on a day of disappointment for Ironsides

First published in Rugby Union Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

They may have let Twickenham slip through their fingers, but Battersea Ironsides skipper Colin O’Keeffe can see the positives.

Ironsides went down 24-39 at home to Longlevens in the south of England final of the RFU Junior Vase.

Despite being roared on by around 200 fans, a brace of tries from Ash Hallett, as well as 12 points off Ben Marsh’s boot, were not enough, and the chance of walking out at the home of rugby in the national final was gone.

But O’Keeffe insists the side will come back even stronger next season.

He said: “Looking back on the season, our league form was a little inconsistent after promotion the year before, but we’ve had a great run in the knock-out competitions.

“We have a real core of players who will be back next season, and we have a host of younger players, from 17 to 18 years old, who are proving to be an exciting prospect.”

He added: “There is nothing to say we cannot have another cup run next season, and we’ll be looking to build on this season’s successes.

“We had a great crowd at the game and it was a great atmosphere.

“Hopefully some will come again, or get involved in playing or coaching.”

Despite his hopes for the future of the Ironsides, O’Keeffe could not hide his ultimate disappointment in the face of defeat.

“We’ll look back on this run with fond memories, but it is massively disappointing not to win,” he said.

“We had Longlevens where we wanted for the opening 60 minutes, but for some reason we moved away from our style of play and tried to match them on the wings.

“They had an unbelievably quick back three, and we could not match that.”

He added: “Twickenham was one step away, we had one hand on the cup so we’re disappointed.”

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